• Rich Engelbrecht

Off the camera and onto your computer.

Get your great pictures off the camera and onto your computer. From your computer you can view them, share them edit them print them, name them, and much more.

There are a number of ways to get your pictures from your camera to your computer. Before you do that, you may want to know where to put them so you can find them. We are going to chat a bit about both of these.


First I have to apologize, this discussion is more relevant to PC users running Windows; I just do not have a strong Mac background. However, many of the concepts will be similar.


Windows has a Pictures folder built in to it. When you click on or open ThisPC or MyPC, one of the folders is already there for your pictures. Thank you, Microsoft! However, this is not quite enough. If you put all your pictures in there, how would you ever find them next year when you want to show them to your friends?


You need to create “subfolders” in there. I typically will create a folder for the year, then open that up and create a folder for the month, and then within that folder create a folder that describes what I am taking pictures. This is called hierarchical folder structure.  For example:

ThisPC-|

              Pictures-|

                               2016-|

                                          December-|

                                                               Holidays


I would then download all my Holiday pictures into that folder. Next year, I can find them fairly easily.  Stay organized; you’ll be much happier you did.


OK, back to the download.


You have choices here as well.

  • Use a photo application on your computer to import them. This is probably your best bet, as you can then start editing them immediately.

  • Download them by plugging your camera into your computer, using those wires that came with the camera, which you probably have in a drawer, somewhere.

  • Take the card out of the camera and place it into the computer. Most computers have “SD card” readers built into them; very useful. In this case you will need to navigate to the folder with the pictures, select them, and drag them to the folder you want them to be in. On the camera or memory card in your camera, the pictures are typically kept in a folder called “DCIM”.

  • Some cameras can “sync” wirelessly with your computer and transfer images automatically.

In any case you will probably need to configure things so that when you put your images onto your computer they go where they need to go.


Whew, you have your images on your computer, now what? Well as good as that image is, when you look at it on the computer screen, rather than the back of the camera, you might start seeing some things you want to “adjust”. Things like:

  • The picture is tilted.

  • It’s to light/dark

  • Aunt Mimi looks like she has a tree branch sticking out of her ear

  • Cousin Susie brought a date and now they have broken up. Let’s get rid of him in the picture

  • Size it to fit a frame when it prints

  • Lot’s more depending on what you use to edit

Finally, time to talk about software applications [apps]. There are more types and quality out there than you can imagine. Let’s start with free. Look on that dvd/cd that came with your camera. There’s probably some editing software on it. Next look what may already be on your computer. In the case of PC’s, a program [APP] called “PHOTOs” is already installed and can make basic edits.


If you want to get a bit more ambitious check out Google Photos’, it’s free, it lives in the “cloud” so you can get to your images from all your devices, and offers a suite of editing tools and automatic “syncing” from your computer.

Adobe has a suite of products that tend to be the most widely used by photographers.  For home use, Photoshop Elements [about $60] can produce some amazing results. Then there is the “Creative Cloud” where you get Photoshop and Lightroom for about $10 a month.


The list goes on, and I am not mentioning other great products. The key is finding one that you can work with; one you can spend some time learning what it can do; one that fits your budget;  and finally, one that you can get some help when you need it. To that end, there is a wealth of resources available in books, YouTube videos, local user groups, and even a friend nearby that wants to learn with you.